Four Books to Look Forward to in 2015
Elnathan John, whose first novel is scheduled to be released this year by Cassava Republic
1. Eight New Generation African Poets: A Chapbook Box Set Paperback
Edited by award-winning poet Kwame Dawes, and novelist, Chris Abani – this collection features the work of six contemporary african poets. The collection is a collaboration between the publisher, Akashic Books and the African Poetry Fund, which promotes and advances the poetic arts of Africa; presented as a box-set of six chapbooks, it looks good enough to eat or give as a gift, and judging by the calibre of the editors, the poetry will be on fire too.
2. ‘The Maestro, The Magistrate & The Mathematician’
Tendai Huchu’s second novel, is set in Edinburgh, and explores the lives of three quixotic characters in their exile from Zimbabwe; despite the simmering turn against the diasporic novel, Huchu’s novel promises to excite the same love and interest as his first, if our review of the novel is anything to go by. It’s available in Zimbabwe, but no word yet on the rest of the world.
3. Elnathan John
Elnathan John – writer, runner-up for the Caine Prize (2014), famous jouster with Chimamanda Adichie, and baiter, in his own words of “sloppy journalists” – has signed on to publish his first novel via Cassava Republic. It’s rumoured the novel will be published in both English and Hausa. Cassava Republic says “the novel uses fiction to give a finely textured exploration of the evolution of religious fundamentalism in the North and its complex relationship to politics and economics. Northern Nigerians reading the book will find in the novel a deep recognition of their circumstances, whereas those from beyond will appreciate (sometimes for the first time) that Northern Nigeria is far from that monolithic existential space that prejudice and stereotype would have us believe.
The Book of Memory – Pettina Gappah
Lawyer turned writer, Pettina Gappah releases debut novel, The Book of Memory; celebrated for the exquisite prose of her short stories, Gappah’s novel is long awaited. The story centres on Memory, an albino woman languishing in Chikurubi Maximum Security Prison in Harare, Zimbabwe, where she has been convicted of murder. As part of her appeal her lawyer insists that she write down what happened as she remembers it. The death penalty is a mandatory sentence for murder, and Memory is, both literally and metaphorically, writing for her life. As her story unfolds, Memory reveals that she has been tried and convicted for the murder of Lloyd Hendricks, her adopted father. But who was Lloyd Hendricks? Why does Memory feel no remorse for his death? And did everything happen exactly as she remembers? Moving between the townships of the poor and the suburbs of the rich, and between the past and the present, Memory weaves a compelling tale of love, obsession, the relentlessness of fate and the treachery of memory.
Dele Meiji Fatunla